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Norwegian smashes Elvis world record

July 25, 2020

An Elvis Presley impersonator shook up the record books by singing songs from "The King" for more than 50 hours. "Kjell Elvis" was allowed to have a five-minute break every hour and sip on water and smoothies.

Norwegian artist Kjell Bjornestad impersonating Elvis Presley performs at the start of his challenge
Image: Reuters/NTB Scanpix/F. Hagen

A Norwegian man on Saturday set the new world record for singing Elvis Presley songs for 50 hours, 50 minutes and 50 seconds straight in an online competition.

Impersonator Kjell Henning Bjornstad, also known by his stage name "Kjell Elvis," completed the marathon at a pub in central Oslo.

"I'll never do this again," said the 52-year-old after he  broke the record recognised by the Guinness World Record. His performance was streamed by Oslo tabloid VG, among others. 

Bjornstad began singing on Thursday morning and switched between sitting and walking around on stage. When he completed the full Elvis catalogue he started singing all over again. 

A nutritionist and a physician monitored Bjornstad, who was regularly served hot water with honey and lemon. The singer was told to take it easy on the coffee and instead rely on smoothies, fruit and energy bars to sustain his voice.

Read more: Elvis Presley traffic lights appear in German town of Friedberg

Bjornstad could take a five minute break every hour. He was also allowed to save up the breaks for a longer pause.

German singer Thomas "Curtis" Gaethje in 2004 set the previous Elvis Presley singing marathon record of 43 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds.

King of Rock and Roll 

The Norwegian singer had already smashed two Elvis singing records before. In 2003, Bjornstad  performed 26 hours nonstop.

"His favourite was 'An American Trilogy' and I've heard 'Teddy Bear' quite a few times," Bjornstad's manager Helge Johansen told Norwegian news agency NTB, adding that the singer's voice, however, did sound increasingly hoarse during the final hours of the competition.

During one of his breaks, Bjornstad told VG that the legendary Elvis Presley — who died  in 1977 aged 41 — passed "far too early."

Read more: Elvis still inspires, 40 years after his death

Also known as "The King," the American singer and actor is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. 

Presley scored dozens of number one hits, won more gold albums than anybody else, and sold more than 146 million albums worldwide, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. 

Donations made for this week's singing marathon will be used in part to fund a hospital for refugees in Myanmar.

mvb/rc (AFP, dpa)